The ecoartspace blog features artist profiles and interviews, as well as writings on ecological systems. We are interested in presenting work that our members are making in collaboration with scientists, and poetics including spoken word, opera, and performative work. Painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography, drawing, and printmaking are all welcome media. Speculative architecture and public art are also encourage. Submissions for posts can be sent to We look forward to hearing from you!

You can access the previous ecoartspace blog HERE (2008-2019)

ecoartspace, LLC

Mailing address: PO Box 5211 Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502
  • Monday, September 04, 2023 11:10 AM | Anonymous

    Recovering the Walkabout

    Kim Tanzer | August 31, 2023for MAHB

    “By singing the world into existence, [Arkady] said, the Ancestors had been poets in the original sense of poesis, meaning ‘creation’.  No Aboriginal could conceive that the created world was in any way imperfect.  His religious life had a single aim:  to keep the land the way it was and should be.  The man who went ‘Walkabout’ was making a ritual journey.  He trod in the footprints of his Ancestor.  He sang the Ancestors’ stanzas without changing a word or note—and so recreated the Creation.”
    ∼ Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines

    One thread running through much of my work is the intention to sing a preferred world into being through the act of walking. I have always loved walking: It keeps me physically and emotionally healthy, allows my mind to wander, and reduces my CO2 production when I walk rather than drive. It allows me to see the world at the pace prescribed by our human evolution over hundreds of thousands of years. It slows the world down. It engages my attention.

    It is no wonder walking is integral to my art.  While I am inspired by the canonical walkers—Tony Smith, Robert Smithson, Hamish Fulton, Richard Long, and others—I seek to replace objectivity, procedural neutrality, even aesthetic cynicism, with awe and inspiration.  I walk to absorb beauty through my senses, to retrace it with my feet, to share it through works I produce.  In so doing, I fortify myself, praise our Earth, and hope to inspire others.

    These are a few examples of my walking practices.

    Found drawing after #Duchamp, iPhone photo, created April 14, 2022 at 11:01 AM; posted October 15, 2022

    Continue reading full article here

  • Friday, September 01, 2023 9:26 AM | Anonymous

    September 2023 e-Newsletter for subscribers is here

  • Friday, September 01, 2023 8:05 AM | Anonymous

    Plastic Confluence series from Trash Trout Picture Show exhibit at the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum in 2022. Photo by Lauren Armbrust, courtesy of BRAHM.

    Interview by Olivia Ann Carye Hallstein

    Tom Hansell uses a collaborative process within rural communities to create work that supports both natural and local cultures in North Carolina, and soon, Utah. Through the medium of experimental film and live performance or soundscapes, Tom shines light on the implications of plastic waste in the regions. His work impacts, honors, integrates and advocates his surroundings directly.

    Participants at a workshop sponsored by the New River Conservancy, 2022

    You have such an impressive body of work, but for today, I'd like to focus on your more recent projects. Let's start with "The Ancient New," which is a collaboration between yourself, other artists, community members and organizations within the New River Valley. Even the title contrasts current and historic impacts on this riverway environment and on local communities. What has the collaborative nature of this work taught you and what have the resulting conversations brought to fruition?

     “What you do to the land, you do to the people” is a saying I have often heard while working in rural Appalachian communities. "The Ancient New" is designed to gather people together to better understand our connections to the land and water that sustain us. Over the past decade of working on this project, I’ve learned about impacts of agriculture, industrial development, and tourism. I’ve learned that the New River feeds the Ohio River, which provides drinking water to more than five million people and demonstrated how water connects us. I’ve also met an inspiring number of people who are working on innovative ways to sustain their home place.  

    Plastic Confluence #3, plastic shopping bags and barrel hoop savaged from the New River, 2022

    You seem to be building these connections in your process as well by collecting plastic refuse directly in the landscape. How does your collection process influence how you approach the creation of your work?

    I have always collected trash while hiking, paddling, and fishing. The idea for "The Trash Trout Motion Picture Show" came after participating in organized river clean ups and having conversations with other volunteers about how many people choose not to see the plastic and other refuse that ends up in creeks and rivers. My films such as "The Trash Trout Motion Picture Show," "Benthic Salvage," and "Does Water Die?" are all attempts to put a spotlight on the waste that is generated from society’s increasing appetite for consumption.

    These films are part of a long-term project title "The Ancient New." For the next phase of this project, I am collaborating with grassroots organizations to produce a series of community festivals that use moving images and live performances to bring folks together, bridge cultural or political divisions, and celebrate the water that connects us to each other.

    In order to bring all of these topics together you are using some new stylistic choices for this piece. Previously, you used a documentary style approach (ex. “After Coal” from 2016 that compares mining communities in Kentucky, USA and Wales, UK), but your more recent approach to riverway plastic materials, on the other hand, embraces an experimental filmmaking approach. What have you noticed comparing both processes? And what has the difference in impact been using each approach?

    I moved toward experimental filmmaking after realizing how heavily my documentaries relied on the spoken word to create meaning. I wanted to strengthen my visual storytelling skills by making films that did not require language to communicate meaning. The challenge is that experimental films are more difficult to distribute, which can decrease the impact of the work. However, the participatory process I use for films such as the "The Trash Trout Motion Picture Show" offers an opportunity to deepen the experience of local people who are part of the project. For example, the town of Boone, North Carolina, the Watauga Riverkeeper and New River Conservancy helped coordinate the cleanup efforts and workshops that created the film.  More than 50 volunteers taped trash to film strips to create the visual elements of "The Trash Trout Motion Picture Show" and directly experienced the impacts of plastic pollution.

    Participants at workshop at the Appalachian Mountain Brewery, March 22, 2022

    Let's talk more about your work “The Trash Trout Motion Picture Show.” It integrates experimental film composition using plastic with nature sounds and Appalachian music and dance performances by taping found plastics onto film, you are able to replicate water texture and flow. What inspired you to pair this music and audio with your visual work? What does sound choice contribute to your films in the form of metaphor?

    "The Trash Trout Motion Picture Show" uses the power of music, dance, and film to reveal human connections to fresh water. I collaborated with traditional Appalachian musician Trevor McKenzie and musician / dancer Julie Shepherd–Powell to create a soundtrack that reflects the landscape and the cultures of the New River.

    Trevor McKenzie relied on his deep knowledge of historic musicians who lived and worked in communities along the river to arrange a medley of traditional songs including "Waterbound," "New River Train," and "The East River Mountain Blues." The musical selections follow the river’s flow, starting with songs from from western North Carolina before moving to southwestern Virginia and on to West Virginia. These regions are where the New becomes the Kanawha and empties into the Ohio River.

    Julie Shepherd–Powell brought her experience performing the Appalachian flatfoot dance style that is a vibrant part of mountain communities. She explains that dance is a “multi-generational and welcoming practice that encourages participation from young and old, accomplished and amateur, and local and visiting dancers alike.” The percussive elements of the dance mesh with the sound of the 16mm film projector, fiddle, and banjo to provide multiple paths for the audience to understand their personal connection to the river.

    Trash Trout Boonerang Sample from Tom Hansell on Vimeo.

    “Trash Trout Motion Picture Show”, live performance with Trevor McKenzie and Julie Shephard-Powell, activated experimental film installation, Boonerang Festival, June 17, 2022

    And, just like the river, these multiple paths lead to a common junction. Especially in “Does Water Die?,” the local landscape seems to be a primary theme. What are your foremost concerns related to waste on your local North Carolina environment? And what is filmmaking’s unique impact in this advocacy?

    Many people consider North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, where I live, to be a pristine environment. However, while making "The Trash Trout Motion Picture Show," I learned that microplastics have been found in every surface water sample from our region. The mountains in my home county are the headwaters of three major river systems that feed the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers as well as the Atlantic Ocean. Protecting water quality in headwaters communities will help millions of people downstream.

    Locally, my goal is to support my project partners who are advocating for a plastic bag ban. Plastic bags have been banned in many parts of the US, Canada, and Europe, but not in North Carolina. Emerging research shows that microplastics have been found in human blood and can potentially impact public health. I hope my films can raise questions, start conversations, and energize people to seek solutions. My ultimate goal is to help create positive feedback loops between geographic place, human cultures, and natural systems.

    Three Channel Installation for the 2022 New River Symposium at Bechtel Summit Reserve’s Sustainability Treehouse, Glen Jean, West Virginia

    And the work is expanding to other locations to create those feedback loops! In fact, you spent the month at the Moab Arts Reuse Residency in Utah projecting experimental films onto upcycled materials. What parallels did you notice between harmful pollutants and the natural environment through material use? What are your goals in this new environment?

    The Moab Arts Reuse Residency provided me the opportunity to collaborate with community members to make a series of short, crowd sourced films about the waste stream in this part of Utah. Uranium mining has left a lasting legacy on the local landscape, and the explosion of tourism in recent years has created new issues with waste disposal. During my residency, we focused on three aspects of Moab’s waste stream: I partnered with the Canyonlands Solid Waste Authority to create a short film about municipal waste and recycling, worked with Moab’s Sustainability Department to create a film about composting food waste, and collaborated with local residents to make a piece about the federal government’s efforts to remediate radioactive waste from an old uranium mine.  

    I also salvaged broken flat screen televisions and stitched the screens together to create a 12 foot by 7 foot screen to show the films to the community. My goal for this residency was to amplify conversations about how to make Moab’s waste stream more sustainable. I concluded the residency by screening the short film series, titled "Moab Waste Stream," to the community on August 30 of this year.  

    I am excited to see how this continues to develop. Thank you, Tom! 

    Does Water Die? from Tom Hansell on Vimeo.

    “Does Water Die?” Tom Hansell & Joshua White, experimental film made with plastic waste from New River. 2019

  • Monday, August 28, 2023 8:58 AM | Anonymous


    August 28, 2023

    This week we recognize  Eve Andrée Laramée, and her forty-five year practice engaging the alchemical, as a nuclear arms activist and agit-prop eco-art instigator.

    River of Stone, 1989 (above) made of copper, water, salt, glass, and mica, was included in "Revered Earth" in 1991, a traveling exhibition initiated by the Center for Contemporary Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The piece is a later work from Laramée's evaporation pool series, officially starting with "Venusian Lagoons," shown at the Albuquerque Museum in a solo exhibition with catalogue, in 1983. Comprised of several large evaporation ponds containing salt, water, copper and iron, her lagoons were inspired by early experiments she made while living in the San Francisco Bay Area during graduate school at SFAI in 1978-1980. The conceptual basis for this time-based series was alchemical processes, as well as being influenced by travertine deposits that form in mineral-rich hot springs, highlighting natural and geological/mineralogical phenomena.

    Parks on Trucks: Project for the City of Aachen, Germany, 1999 (above) consisted of a series of parks on a fleet of three large, commercial, flat-bed trucks which circulated through the city and were parked in different places on a weekly basis. Parks represent some of the most "natural" elements in our landscapes, yet they are designed and cultivated, controlled and aestheticized using methods that are clearly "unnatural" and sometimes extremely so. Cultures tend to see parks as "sacred spaces," luxurious romanticization and fetishizations of nature that are only possible because modern industrial economies buffer us from the worst of nature's hazards and discomforts. This security and comfort, however, frequently imposes high environmental costs that make it necessary to "rescue" nature from culture by designating and producing parks. Placing parks on trucks brings these seeming contradictions together for mutual consideration in a simultaneously humorous, sardonic, radical, and reverential gesture. One truck was cultivated with plants with medicinal and poisonous properties, a play on the phrase, "The Gift of Nature" as the word "gift" in German means poison. A second truck (above), the “Carbon Balance” truck was planted with a topiary garden representing transformed nature, it was driven only as far as it polluted the air and cleaned it at the same rate per research by a biogeographer. A third was planted with the staple crop, corn.

    Sugar Mud (Hudson River Project), 2003 (above) was installed in the drawing room of a Gilded Age mansion in Riverdale, New York, Wave Hill, and consisted of a room-sized mound of golden-colored sugar that referenced two local issues. One was the golden hue associated with the historic Hudson River School of painters and the accumulated toxic sediment from the sugar factory sludge located on the shore of the Hudson River. Collaborating with environmental scientists, Laramée created Sediment Profile Imagery using benthic disturbance mapping of the river bottom documenting the channels where 80,000 tons of sludge were dredged and relocated to the ocean floor.

    Halfway to Invisible (2009) was an installation commissioned by Emory University, an affiliate of the Center for Disease Control, focused on epidemiological and genetic issues in relation to uranium mining. More than 225,000,000 tons of uranium ore was mined by Native American laborers, including the Laguna, Navajo, Zuni, Southern Ute, Ute Mountain, Hopi, and Acoma cultures. These workers were poorly paid, and seldom informed of the dangers of working with uranium or given appropriate protective gear. Epidemiologic studies of the workers and their families show increased incidents of radiation-induced cancers, miscarriages, and birth defects. Field trips to the Jackpile Uranium Mine at Laguna Pueblo, meetings with retired uranium miners, hydro-geologists and remediation engineers informed the questions raised by the work: Is our atomic legacy producing genotoxic effects in indigenous human populations? If so, what is the extent of DNA damage, and how might this affect these populations in the future?

    NukeNOtes, 2013-ongoing (below) is a social sculpture project bringing environmental art and research to non-art audiences in the form of “alternative fact sheets,” or National Park brochures, as a vehicle to expand understanding, change perception and support engagement around public lands and adjacent nuclear legacy sites. The brochures draw attention to the use, misuse and commodification of our public lands by activities that produce serious environmental and health impacts such as uranium mining and milling, research, development and production of nuclear weapons, project engages this legacy. 108 of these sites exist in 38 states, several adjoining National Parks and public lands. They are former mining, milling, manufacturing and testing sites for the U.S. nuclear weapons production operations during WWII and the Cold War. As climate change occurs and vulnerability spectrum's shift these sites and the people surrounding them, including many indigenous populations are at increased risk. Sites include Atlas Uranium Mill/Arches National Park, Yucca Mountain/Death Valley National Park, among others.

    Eve Andrée Laramée is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher working at the confluence of art and science. She is a Professor of the Department of Art at Pace University. and the Director of the Dyson Center for the Arts, Society & Ecology. She received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her artwork has been exhibited throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Exhibitions include at the Venice Biennale, Mass MOCA, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; among other institutions. Her work is included in the collections of the MacArthur Foundation, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, The Fogg Art Museum of Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the UCLA Armand Hammer Museum, and in numerous other public and private collections. Laramée has received two grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, an Andy Warhol Foundation Grant, two fellowships from the New York Foundation for Arts and grants from the Mid-Atlantic States Arts Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Museum Sculptor-in-Residence Program. Her work has been written about by art historians and art critics in in numerous books and journals including Artforum, Art in America, ArtNews, the New York Times, CAA Art Journal, among others. Laramée also writes about art and environmental issues.

    Images: ©Eve Andrée Laramée, River of Stone, 1989, copper, water, salt, glass, and mica, first exhibited at the New Museum in 1989, for the exhibition Strange Attractors: Signs of Chaos, and included inRevered Earth, a traveling exhibition curated by Dominique Mazeaud, with additional text and insights by Suzi Gablik, shown at Contemporary Arts Museum (TX), The Pratt Institute (NY), Atlanta College of Art with Nexus Contemporary Art Center (GA), University of Arizona Museum of Art, Blue Star Art Space (TX) The Mint Museum (NC), and concluded at the Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Fe (NM), 1990-1991, catalogue; Parks on Trucks: Carbon Balance Truck Project for the City of Aachen, Germany, 1999, truck, topiary, soil, and gravel, commissioned by the Ludwig Forum Museum, included in the exhibition Natural Reality: Artistic Positions between Nature and Culture, curated by Heike Strelow; Sugar Mud (Hudson River Project), 2003, crystalized yellow sugar, wood, digital photographs, lighting gels, 16.5 x 35 x 6.5 feet, exhibited at Wavehill, Riverdale, Bronx, New York, curated by Jennifer McGregor; Halfway to Invisible, 2009, kinetic sculpture, video, video projection, 60 lightboxes with transparencies, Cold War artifacts, archive of documents, photographs, ambient soundscape; Atlas Uranium Mill, from NukeNotes series, 2013-ongoing, activist National Parks brochures; below, portrait of the artist.


  • Monday, August 21, 2023 11:06 AM | Anonymous

    source: Library of Creative Sustainability, Creative Carbon, Scotland

    Inspiring examples of sustainability outcomes achieved through artistic collaboration. Read introduction here

    Case Study, published 8/21/2023 (written by Maja Rimer)

    Every second, Guanabara Bay receives 18 thousand litres of untreated domestic sewage and 90 tons of floating waste daily, as well as unaccounted amounts of chemical sewage and petroleum and oil released by industries. Oil and gas production spills that come from over 6000 naval, chemical and petroleum industrial facilities have contributed to the slow death of the territory of Guanabara Bay. The increased temperature of the oceans with climate change and noise pollution generated by the ships, are other important factors for the loss of marine life.

    The environmental degradation of Guanabara Bay affects the local population living in the area, especially the fishing communities whose lives depend on the waters, and so these conditions impose a necessity to change the life of the communities that can no longer survive on fishing. Together with the communities, Sensitive Territories discover possibilities for the reuse of waste, asking what we can learn from these ruins and how we can imagine new futures for them.

    ‘Sensitive Territories invites us to think about what kind of relationship we can create with territories in ruins’ says Walmeri Ribeiro. ‘In the relationship of art, fishing and life, we found a way together to initiate dreams and to connect our bodies with the territory that we inhabit.’

    Guanabara Bay encompasses 16 districts and is home to 8.6 million people. Environmental destruction forces them to find a new relationship with the territory and build resilience. Covering an area of 412 square kilometres and listed as a UN World Heritage site since 2012, the area is important not only for the local communities but for the entire ecosystem in Brazil. 

    Created as a research platform in 2014 by Brazilian artist Walmeri Ribeiro, Sensitive Territories investigates the impact of climate change and industrial pollution on traditional communities that live on the shores of Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro. Throughout the project, artists, scientists and local communities immersed themselves in the environment of water and mangroves to investigate possible solutions to water pollution. Sensitive Territories aims to rethink the creation of artistic practices, exploring ethical, political and aesthetic modes of producing art to address environmental challenges. Believing in the political dimension as much as the sensory experience of art practices, the project encourages ways of imagining a new coexistence among humans and non-humans.

    Territórios Sensíveis| Baía de Guanabara from Walmeri Ribeiro on Vimeo.

    Continue reading full feature on Creative Carbon Scotland, including summarized sustainability issues and outcomes, lessons, tips and advice here

  • Monday, August 14, 2023 7:29 AM | Anonymous


    August 14, 2023

    This week we recognize  Mary Edwards  Mary Edwards, and a ten year span of her public art and sonic installations.

    Per/Serverance, 2013 (above) is an interpretive soundscape that implies both a tenacity and a detachment evidenced by the predicament of the  2.7 mile-long Quequechan River. Once the centerpiece of the 19th Century Fall River, Massachusetts textile industry, it has since been buried under the city to accommodate the expansion of Interstate 195, and partially obscured by the mills built in that era that echo tragedies and initiatives occurring throughout the 20th and early 21st Centuries. Its memory and "voice" are represented by a collection of subtle sounds: fluid origins ranging from a purely ecological juncture of its most natural state prior to industrialization, to a human-altered waterscape; distant contrapuntal Siren-inspired choruses alternating between alluring resonance and foreboding dissonance; and faint reverberations that hearken to the height and decline of the mills and the vision to "daylight" the falls once again. Edwards came to Fall River several times to study the river, to understand its relationship to the city, and to find the remaining places where it can still be seen, and heard. Her sound installation is evocative of the memories that the water still carries,and the conversation it would have if someone were there to listen.

    click images for more info and sound

    Edwards' spatial sound work When the Ocean Meets the Sky, 2019 (above) pays tribute to the astronauts and aquanauts from the 1960s to present, who've prepared for deep space explorations by venturing to the bottom of the sea. As part of the REFUGE exhibition at Beatnik Gallery/Joshua Tree Cultural Preservation Center, Joshua Tree National Park, California, this installation invites the listener to engage in the reverie of the sonorous habitats of sea and space where immersive sonics range from expansive to infinitesimal.

    For Something to (Be)Hold, 2021 (above) was installed at locations around the Grimshaw-Gudewicz Art Gallery in Massachusetts. The stations served as portals and were the impetus for possibility. The work questions what we subconsciously navigate in our everyday patterns that can be transformative to our encounter and expectations if we pace ourselves and listen. What does “place” sound like when it, upon first impression, seems so familiar that one may bypass their imagination for the ordinary?  There is no actual silence or stillness afterwards. Through engagement, eventually you find music in nature, and beauty in between the complexities and unanswered spaces. Does the place itself repopulate with resounding motions other than our own? The soundtracks heard draw from the material form, and are an extension of Edwards’ relationship to the natural world.

    In CONSERVATION/CONVERSATION, 2022 (below) while Artist-In-Residence at ACA Soundscape Field Station at Canaveral National Seashore, Edwards explored the distinctive habitats and soundscape ecology of Apollo Beach. An audio companion to a poetic essay and a free verse narrative account documented the collaboration of visitors to the ocean and park, participants in her interactive and real-time exhibition.Questions arose such as: What are the parallels between a gentle rainstorm and a NASA rocket launch in the distance? A whisper in your ear and the crashing of ocean waves, or the beating of a drum and your own heartbeat when all else appears silent? What do we know what to listen for, and how do we describe these sounds to others? How does the practice of deeper listening raise our awareness to soundscape ecology, our compassion, or stewardship and healing of each other and the wellness of the environment?

    Drawing partly on sound as a vibrational phenomenon and space analogues, Everywhere We Are is the Farthest Place, 2023 (below) is an ode, rather than an elegy, to the transforming Arctic landscape, climate vulnerability, elemental sensuality and terrestrial/space connectivity. It comprises a score and text performed synchronically (and sometimes improvisational) with an immersive soundscape of cinematic audio and ambient field recordings of ice, water and wildlife sounds gathered from landings around Svalbard, Norway while on a sailing expedition on a research vessel above the 78th parallel. The work documents sound properties of glacial geology and oceanographic data, through sonification by “de-centering the centered and un-othering the others.” Edwards began inviting audiences to interact with the hydrophones, contact mics, keyboards, Waterphone, bows and mallets, used to record and respond to the fjords and glaciers, and incorporate their own "layer of experience."

    Mary Edwards  is a composer and sound artist. Themes of temporality, impermanence, nostalgia and the natural world recur throughout her work. She is interested in the invisible architecture and the emotive, historic, cinematic and spatial properties of sound. Listening is an inherent and integral part of her process in conveying how all sounds have the potential to be habitable and transformative once you get inside them, as they are simultaneously intimate and immense. Edwards has recorded and exhibited widely, and her works have received support from residencies and fellowships including ACA Soundscape Field Station at Canaveral National Seashore, Headlands Center for the Arts and The Arctic Circle. Her writing has been published by Oxford American, Invert/Extant (U.K.), The Mentor that Matters, The Santa Barbara Literary Journal and the anthology, Joy Has a Sound: Black Sonic Visions. She holds an Interdisciplinary MFA in Sound and Architecture from Goddard College.

    Featured Images (top to bottom): ©Mary Edwards, Per/Serverance, 2013, sound installation at Grimshaw Gudewicz Art Gallery, Fall River, Massachusetts; When the Ocean Meets the Sky, 2019, included in REFUGE at Beatnik Gallery, Joshua Tree Cultural Preservation Center, California; Something to (Be)Hold, 2021, installation at Grimshaw-Gudewica Gallery, Fall River, Massachusetts; CONSERVATION / CONVERSATION, 2022, including book and sound soundscape on Bandcamp, Fall 2023; Everywhere We Are is the Farthest Place, 2023, sound installation and performance at The Spitsbergen Artists Center, Longyarbyen, Svalbard, Norway; Portrait of the artist.

  • Monday, August 07, 2023 9:58 AM | Anonymous


    August 7, 2023

    This week we recognize Margaret Cogswell, and her ongoing series of RIVER FUGUES that began twenty years ago.

    River Fugues are unique projects exploring the interdependency of people, industry and rivers. Each entail regional research, recording images and narratives with audio/video that are later edited into fugues and integrated into sculptural installations. The reason for using the fugue is because of its flexibility as a conceptual framework, which can be applied to any set of components one is trying to integrate, be they sounds, voices, narratives or images. 

    A precursor that influenced the River Fugue series, Thirst (above, a proposal drawing), installations exhibited in1999 & 2001, explored the idea of immortality being found in the waters of a particular place and/or through particular rituals involving water, including the Japanese tea ceremony, as well as the art of dowsing for water using divining rods. In both installations, dripping water turned to steam as it hit heated steel discs so that, just as with the fountain of youth, the waters are never accessible for drinking, and immortality remains elusive.

     click images for more info

    Lured by fire, water and the imposing presence of volcanic steel mills, during a residency at SPACES Gallery in Cleveland, Ohio, at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River, Cogswell’s site-specific response became Cuyahoga Fugues, 2003 (above), a mixed-media installation inspired by and incorporating generations of stories reflecting the life and dreams embodied by the Cuyahoga River. Struck by the interdependence of the life of the river, people and industry to each other, and the realization that her installation would include multiple audio and video components, Cogswell turned to the musical structure of the fugue as a guide for editing the video and audio. Narratives recorded from people living and working along the river, video from along the Cuyahoga River and the steel mill industry were woven together as “fugues” to become Cuyahoga Fugues. Videos and narratives were rear-projected from inside steel and plexi-pipes, as well as from vents in walls, a re-purposed radio and TV. This installation was also included in River Fuges (2007-2008), as part of Melting Ice / A Hot Topic, a traveling exhibition organized by Art Works for Change.

    Mississippi River Fugues, 2008 (above) was a solo exhibition at the Art Museum of the University of Memphis in Tennessee. Entering the museum’s lobby, the viewer is surrounded by voices of cotton farmers, river guides, levee supervisors and others telling their stories which are emerging from hurricane lanterns. An 18th century French drawing of a "machine dredger" powered by men in squirrel wheel cages inspires the main installation. Entering the darkened gallery, the viewer is dwarfed by 2 giant squirrel wheels and 5 buoys. Inside the giant wheels (standing 15 and 20 ft. high) are video projections (10 ft. and 6 ft. diameter) of a man running endlessly, seemingly powering the dredger’s wheels. Each of the five buoys (6 to 14 ft. high) houses an oscillating motor and video projector in the top section. Oscillating 90 degrees, video images move across the surrounding walls and form a visual fugue exploring the haunting history, poignant beauty and delicate balance found in the interdependence of the lives of people in the Delta, the cotton industry and Mississippi River.

    Wyoming River Fugues, 2012 (above) explores the complex relationship between Wyoming's natural, cultural, historic, engineered and industrial landscapes. Of particular interest are water rights and issues related to river water usage including irrigation and mining. This mixed-media installation is comprised of video projected from three surveyor’s transits, and onto the floor of a stock tank. A “bucket of light” moves slowly 50 feet diagonally across the museum’s gallery space. Surveyor’s transits, normally determining division of land and access to water, serve as a vehicle for exploring the historical and cultural landscape of Wyoming through video projections moving across the surrounding walls. Narrative fugues were created from interviews with Arapaho and Shoshone elders, botanists, composers, archaeologists, ecologists, hydrologists, philosophers, ranchers, historians, environmentalists, poets, and scientists with the extraction industries.

    Moving the Water(s): Ashokan Fugues, 2014 (below) is a research-based mixed-media installation that explores the New York City water supply and its relationship to the Catskill Watershed. It was an elegy to the people of the Catskills who lost their land and homes through eminent domain for the building of the Ashokan Reservoir, which supplies drinking water for New York City through its aqueduct system. Using the musical structure of a fugue, the piece is “composed” to be played by a trio of videos projected inside the two water towers and from the one surveyor’s transit.  A green ball animates the water currents and becomes the visual thread linking the movement of water from the Catskills down to NYC. The work was installed for a solo exhibition at Cue Art Foundation in New York City. 

    Moving the Waters: Croton Fugues, 2017 (below) was inspired by the 2017 centennial anniversary of New York City’s aqueduct system, and the location of the Mid-Manhattan Library across the street from the site of the former Croton Distribution Reservoir, the first reservoir in New York City.  When that reservoir became inadequate, the City looked north to the Catskills for its water. The Croton Distribution Reservoir was then destroyed and the current New York City Public Library was built over the site. Layers of this history were reflected in the windows of the Mid-Manhattan Library across the street. This project seeks to entice the viewer into imagining and investigating the history of NYC’s water supply system through the accumulated layering of the experience of exploring these windows. Focusing on the Croton Reservoir, photographs and video stills from onsite research and documentation were layered with archival images from the NYPL digital files to form the window installations of panels of archival digital prints on canvas. Inspired by the structure of India’s 16th century Deccan Court paintings, each window installation is created with sections of narrative images, abstractions and repetitive patterns.

    Margaret Cogswell is a mixed-media installation artist residing in New York and a recipient of numerous awards including the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (2009), Pollock-Krasner Foundation (2017, 1991 & 1987), New York Foundation for the Arts (2007, 1993); and Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant (2014). Cogswell was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and raised in Japan where she lived until she was 13 years old. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1982, she received a Master in Fine Arts in Sculpture from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Since 2003, the main focus of Cogswell's work is an ongoing series of RIVER FUGUES projects that explore the increasingly politicized role of water. RIVER FUGUES began in Cleveland, Ohio in 2002 with Cuyahoga Fugues, a mixed-media installation inspired by and incorporating generations of stories reflecting the life and dreams embodied by the Cuyahoga River.

    Featured images (top to bottom): ©Margaret Cogswell, Thirst, 1998, proposal drawing, watercolor, color pencil, chalk on paper, 20 x 30 inches; Cuyahoga Fugues, 2003, steel pipes, multiple video and audio components, 14 x 40 x 40 feet, Spaces Gallery, Cleveland, Ohio; Mississippi River Fugues, 2008, steel structures, multiple audio and oscillating video projections, 20 x 66 x 33 feet, Art Museum, University of Memphis, Tennessee; Wyoming River Fugues, 2012, steel and wood “surveyor’s transits,” steel stock tanks with video projections, 1 moving polyurethane “bucket of light”, multiple audio and oscillating video components, 16 X 64 X 37 feet, Art Museum, University of Wyoming, Laramie; Moving the Water(s): Ashokan Fugues, 2014, 2 steel & plexi “water-towers” with video and audio, 1 steel and wood surveyor’s transit and wall video projection, 15 x 13 x 15 feet, CUE Art Foundation, New York City; Moving the Water(s): Croton Fugues, 2017, window installations of archival prints on canvas, window dimensions 10 x 6 feet, Mid-Manhattan Library, New York City; self-portrait of the artist in Wyoming.

  • Tuesday, August 01, 2023 1:22 PM | Anonymous

    Wendy Brawer with young neighbors at Siempre Verde Community Garden, NYC

    Mapping a Hopeful Future: Wendy Brawer's work bridging art and policy through her non-profit Green Map System.

    Interview by Olivia Ann Carye Hallstein

    Wendy Brawer goes beyond the confines of a art-denoted space and onto the streets, in government offices and directly to communities to fight for climate related justice. Her role as a "social sculptor" creates paths for collaboration and community empowerment. By holding both idealism and pragmatic change, her non-profit Green Map System® allows organized agency as well as a connected community that honor efforts towards a greener future for all.

    A collage of locally published Green Maps reflects diversity of place, style and considerations

    Hi Wendy,  I am especially interested in how your “Green Maps” work bridges a divide between artistry and planning. How do collaborative art and visual formats allow people to create practical change? Where does the art begin and the organizing end?

    Green Map making blends and enhances many skills that artists have around observation, interpretation, and changing perspectives. Maps have an ancient power that communicates the complexities of place—in this case, your home place. Organizing people, processes and places yields significant data alongside the visual expression. This medium builds capacity for our common future and helps us notice change (or the lack thereof) while activating and informing people who use or make each Green Map.

    Artists, changemakers, educators and groups can use Green Map System’s open source mapping platform for free—it’s easy and it’s designed to engage diverse voices in the process. Or you can make a printed Green Map, a mural, video, performance or experience. Share your viewpoint on local climate challenges and solutions by highlighting and linking exemplary places and projects on your Green Map.

    I’m a ‘social sculptor’ who blends art and organizing. Wikipedia says: As a work of art, a social sculpture includes human activity that strives to structure and shape society or the environment. The central idea of a social sculptor is an artist who creates structures in society using language, thoughts, actions, and objects.

    The ongoing Green Map project at University of Victoria BC Canada often hosts international students, like this group from China, 2015

    Social sculptor, what an incredible term! It really bridges this artmaker-organizer divide. Beginning as a personal project, your work has grown to become an award-winning non-profit organization with work in 65 countries. What have been some of the more rewarding and frustrating moments of being a founder and expanding internationally?

    Like most people whose heart decides where creative energy is directed, I was an artist long before I shifted towards ecodesign and experienced the excitement of solo shows, commissioned work and the competitive art world, mainly in Seattle. Even then, I preferred to work collaboratively, and often used found and recycled objects in my mixed media work. My partner and I were on the adventure path and headed west to live in Tokyo, drifting to NYC’s Lower East Side a couple of years later.

    A pivotal moment and an honor above all came to me from an entrapped Orangutan who threw me a stone. I caught it and turned green—that was 1989 and the start of my work for our common future.

    I blurred the art and design boundary and became an eco encouragement agent. This led to my being appointed Designer in Residence at the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (1997), Honorary Citizen of Japan (2004), Climate S’hero (2013), LES Neighborhood Hero (2016), TED Resident (2017) and most recently to the board of a favorite place, the Trust for Governors Island (2023).

    The cycles of sustainable development seem to have square wheels and the crawl toward climate stability is a key frustration—what can we do to take down barriers to action? At Green Map, this reality led our nonprofit to go open source in 2018, providing tools and support free, on a share-alike basis. Thus, climate urgency opened the door to new collaboration, innovation and inspiration, attracting partners like the GIS Collective and the POP shop to the Green Map Platform team.

    A living lexicon, Green Map’s shared set of icons have evolved since 1995 and were recently linked to the United Nations 17 Global Goals (the SDGs)

    And the list of collaborators goes on. You have even integrated the United Nations “17 Global Goals” through the “Green Map Icons” that help denote specific points of international interest. How has the integration of these icons changed the way you are able to work with these maps? Or collaborate between communities?

    The SDGs are a profound framework, but generally invisible in NYC, despite the UN being anchored in midtown. Could our tools and methods help people connect with the intersections they illuminate? Sadly, not so much! We even created an event to bring local and UN folks together, hoping to spark some synergy, and followed the trail in places like Copenhagen, Geneva and Japan’s Azabu University where local Green Mapmakers were germinating and inspiring new integrations (see slides). The tiny wave we were generating was disrupted in 2020, for which we created Recovery Icons, which are now morphing into a set of social service icons that touch on some of the SDG themes.

    A notable update: Scotland’s Coalfields Regeneration Trust is mapping with several rundown communities, turning the Green Map into a Local Place Plan, a national program created in 2019 which contains a new right for communities to produce their own plans. This year, our icons and ethos are meshed with the SDGs and the Earth Charter by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust. Our mission-aligned tools unlock creativity and expression, so important to the uptake of this programme.

    Lower East Ride was created in Chinese, Spanish and English to support bicycling as an everyday climate change countermeasure on the Lower East Side of NYC in 2013

    It's like a structure for people to bounce off of and express their individual needs. In a way, your maps provide an open platform for individual self-regulation among communities who are interested in the environmental infrastructure. Have the maps had lasting influence in planning and policy making in these spaces? Have grassroots organizers and local educators used these tools to support their concerns?

    Last month, I was excited to see a social post from Jahu Brasil. Their print Green Map, made twenty years ago, became the basis of the master plan— now they are ready to create a new one!  There are other places which have used our adaptable tools to frame a vision of what is possible and to set new policies.

    From Jakarta, architect-planner Marco Kusumawijaya announced his three-volume masterwork this season. In response to my asking, he replied, “Yes the book is the first to compile so much information on Indonesian cities (also from personal direct experiences). And yes, some are from the Green Map experiences that led me to investigate further.” Marco’s 2002 Jakarta Green Map was the first requested by a President for her cabinet. Peta Hijau workshops yielded a dozen local projects across the archipelago, including Yogyakarta, where the Orangutan encounter that slapped sense into my palm was mapped. Marco’s Banda Aceh ‘memory map’, co created with survivors of the 2004 tsunami, became a blueprint for redevelopment that won the Dubai Prize, and sparked other crisis Green Map.

    We also see projects like Red de Mapa Verde, which has impacted communities all across Cuba as a great example of grassroots organizing and educators manifesting change. We love how Mapa Verde is used as a diagnostic tool there and how the project leaders at Centro Felix Varela have shared their approach in several books and at conferences since 2000. Liana Cisneros Bidart and colleagues have contributed greatly to our understanding of what a Green Map project can do.

    Young participant at the Santiago Mapa Verde launch in Chile

    It is so inspiring to hear the lasting effects of this project and its practical applications. The agency that Green Map System allows for communities to self-determine both content and presentation of their maps has created such variety in responses. What did you factor in when creating a framework that would both set up reasonable structures and rules to follow while allowing enough freedom to promote creativity and individuality?

    I had already published two NYC Green Maps and was invited to the UN Social Summit of 1995 to present on the Greening of NYC—and happily this catalyzed a meeting of the emerging O2 Global network of ecodesigners. We all threw ideas on the table and mine was to co-create a set of sustainability icons to be used to help identify, promote and link disparate Green Map made locally, and to create a movement that would share mapmaking experiences. A modem was tossed into the mix and voila, developing Green Map System became our first internet collaboration—there’s a story here.

    We had a whole new medium—how could we use the web democratically to discover local green living resources and the nature, cultural and social justice realities of home? O2’s influence remains strong.

    I wrote this article The Web as a Metaphor as I co-created the system, its first website and interactions. We have always tried to be open and inclusive. 125 interns have pitched in, and one of the first, David Campbell, suggested turning the icons into a font that would work with any computer application, thus leveling the Green Map playing field in 1996. I was influenced by the gift economy of indigenous people—I had learned about potlatches in the Pacific Northwest long before I heard of open source development and how to work together fluidly. I also want to credit community gardeners and how they work autonomously and together.  We even named our first content managed website ‘the Greenhouse’ as it nurtured diverse and verdant ‘gardens’ around the world.

    On the topic of diversity, autonomy and togetherness, I want to point our the term “glocal” that your website uses. It's a personal favorite term and has really shifted my perspective as a practitioner. What does “glocal'' mean to you and to your mission? What is it that the combination of local and global promotes especially well?

    Think global, map local. Observe through this lens and share your perspective. My guiding principle since 1995! Encapsulating it all, glocal considers impacts on both your home place and planet.

    Glocal is an activating, inclusionary term. The benefits of going local are a given now, and part of the reason I keep working on NYC projects, ranging from the Dutch Kills Loop, a proposed land regeneration and infrastructure reuse project in Long Island City to the return of the Stanton Parkhouse to community use on the Lower East Side. I show up for causes and pitch in around air quality, open streets, street trees, community gardens and more.

    Our world needs glocal—the free flow of capabilities, knowledge and networks from place to place, so we can seed a world where dignity and sufficiency for all forever can be imagined and co-created.

    Thank you for sharing your story, and of course, ecoartspace readers are welcome to become Green Mapmakers, too—see

    Green Map is on the planning team at the Dutch Kills Loop, a land regeneration and infrastructure reuse project in Long Island City

  • Monday, July 31, 2023 10:58 AM | Anonymous


    July 31, 2023

    This week we recognize   Christine Cassano     and her work, which is a synthesis of scientific research and metaphysics.

    “Permeable Facades and Internal Alterations,” 2015 (above) was a walk-in art installation of alternating, suspended panels of industrial and organic materials. The space in between materials expose variations of external facade and internal experience. Inside becomes intimately engulfed in a circular sea of translucent blood-red, 150+ hand-formed porcelain bones and countless mirrors which cascade moments of intense visual movement and self-reflection. Sentences subtly wood-burned into suspended pieces of Saguaro cactus ribs can only be viewed from the interior. They are hand-carved written connections provided by friends and family recalling a singular moment that changed their life.”

     click images for more info

    Cassano's practice is rooted in the visual expression of dynamic systems, exploring ways to bring complex, overlapping ideas into a shared environment through the convergence of resonance, pattern, time, and space. “Tethered Tensions,” 2017 (above) is an installation presented at the Phoenix Art Museum, composed of 500 feet of the artist’s own spun hair and held together by hundreds of small mirrors is tethered to six futuristic concrete sculptures in a 15 x 17 foot room. The work offers the audience an immersive space to consider ominous reflections, tensions and the fragile counterbalance between humanness and ecology.

    “Sequence and Conjunction,” 2020 (above) a lobby installation in the Wexford Biomedical Campus / Innovation Center: A collective of two intricate groupings – both composed of 116 strands and suspended from a black ceiling. Exploring DNA genomic sequencing of the Saguaro cactus became the way to engage the relationship of interchanging materials, colors and moving alignments that merge and connect with the movement of the sun, air and one’s physical movement throughout the space – each conjunction enabling new formations to appear. Many architectural elements of this new biomedical building were inspired by the Saguaro cactus. I met with Dr. Wojciechowski, an evolutionary biologist at ASU and member of the Saguaro Genome Project, to learn more about genetic sequencing of the Saguaro for this project. Anchored by Arizona State University, Wexford’s PBC Innovation Center is a 226,000 square-foot research and office building designed to expand ASU’s research footprint in downtown Phoenix and facilitate growth of the private sector in bioscience and health technologies.”

    “Degrees of Granularity,” 2021 (above) is a sound sculpture installation and collaboration between Cassano and Shomit Barua. 500+ hand-formed pieces of paper-thin, translucent porcelain are delicately stacked on top of a black mirror. The motion reactive audio is derived from the friction of these bone-like pieces.The individual shape, weight and texture causes their edges to catch; their arrangement requires balance, and then they rest with precarious density. The noise they make when they shift is both corrosive and harmonic—sometimes their edges crack, crumble and deteriorate, other times they resonate and ring. While this sculpture exists for the moment in a delicate stasis, the inevitable rearrangement over time will grind the porcelain into dust.”

    “Quadrivium,” 2023 (below) is an installation created to be touched and engaged from above, from below and 360º as it is here on display at Form & Concept Gallery in Santa Fe, NM. This suspended installation includes 49 bronze noēma and by activating with a gentle push, the viewer assists with composition of sound and arrangement while engaging with mediation of rhythmic movement within a three-dimensional context. This creates a space where matter, energy and vibration connect and a place to be completely present. “Quadrivium” is the Latin word meaning “where four roads meet – a crossroads” and references a curriculum established during the Renaissance consisting of four subjects: Arithmetic, Geometry, Harmonics & Astronomy.”

    Cassano also makes paintings including, Universal Algorithms, 2021 (below). "I use signal / sound waves created by our natural world to create paintings. These include seismic, gravitational wave signals and various electromagnetic frequencies recorded on earth and in outer space. Using sound equipment, these signals are converted into a vibratory source and applied to the panel surface. I then take the organic noēma forms I create and dip them into paint. The forms are placed on the panel and the vibrations carry them across the surface. What emerges are visible patterns created by resonance. Once dry, paint patterns serve as point pivot guides for pencil and other drawing instruments as I interconnect their patterns to create larger formations."

    Christine Cassano     is an interdisciplinary artist whose work is informed by research in science and metaphysics and made accessible to audiences through objects, sound, and environments. She holds a fine arts degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and Old Dominion University. She is a recipient of the 2018 Artist Research Grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2016, she was awarded a Contemporary Forum Artist Grant with exhibition  from the Phoenix Art Museum, supported in part by the Nathan Cummings Foundation Endowment. In 2015, she was awarded a residency at the University of West Georgia which included an interactive, community-based installation project that is now part of the college’s permanent collection. That year she was also a recipient of the Phoenix Institute of Contemporary Art Grant, resulting in a published artist catalog of her work. Her work was recently reviewed by Hyperallergic.

    Featured images (top to bottom): ©Christine Cassano, Permeable Facades and Internal Alterations, 2015, exhibited at Tempe Center for the Arts; Tethered Tensions, 2017, mirrors, concrete, hair, exhibited at Phoenix Art Museum; Sequence & Conjunction, 2020, ceiling lobby installation at Wexford Biomedical & Innovation Campus - Public Art; Degrees of Granularity, 2021, porcelain noema stacked on mirror, sonic sensors, technology hardware + software components (internal), 36 x 96 x 16 inches, exhibited at form&concept gallery; Quadrivium, 2023, spun hair and bronze, 252 x 72 x 72 inches, exhibited at form&concept gallery; Universal Algorithms, 2021, acrylic paint, colored pencil, sound / signal vibration, 48 x 96 inches, in collaboration with sound artist, Jimmy Peggie;Portrait of artist in her studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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